Sunday 13 March 2016

REVIEW: Dark Chapter Press - Kids

Genre: Horror / Anthology
Publisher: Dark Chapter Press
Publication Date: 15th March 2016
Pages: 316


A copy of Kids was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the publishers, Dark Chapter Press, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review.

Anthology number three this year from those cheeky chaps at Dark Chapter Press. I have said before, and I will say it again, I think Dark Chapter Press are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the next few years. They put their heart and soul into the books they produce and it shows.

The first I read was last year and it was Kill For A Copy. You can read my review of it here. The second was only a few weeks ago, Eight Deadly Kisses. This was a double whammy because not only was it exclusively featuring women writers for Women In Horror Month, but all proceeds from it are going to the charity Camfed. You can read my review of it here.

Kids is one I was looking forward to because it has some authors I read before in the aforementioned anthologies but it is also co-edited by Stuart Keane. I wanted to see what he could produce from the other side of the table given the fact his writing is superb. There is also the fantastic input of Mr Jack Rollins, a man proving himself to be a big force in both the writing and publishing worlds.

So what did I think? Let’s see!


The Big Fella is a huge tree in the middle of Harpers Meadow. The meadow is where all the kids play. Four thirteen-year-old friends, Wilson, Tonk, Beanie and Gerbil come with a plan to take over the meadow by building a fort in The Big Fella.

The four sets of green eyes in the darkness beg to differ.

Crackin way to open an anthology. This tale is all about boys and their strive for control and to be the kings of the castle.

It is also about how vulnerable they become when faced with the unknown and they lose some of that control.

This is super creepy and will have you squirming in your seat as you read.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


Cassie is four years old. She has a fascination with what’s inside the human body. She cuts up her dolls to find out but never gets any answers. She asks her Mom and Dad but never gets any answers.

She wonders does her baby brother have any answers?

Can you hear that? That’s the sound of this story flying up the Confessions Short Story charts on the back of a rocket!

This is an anthology about horror kids. This story should be in the dictionary as the definition of horror kids. This is horrific and brutal and cringe worthy and awful and beautiful all at the same time.

You know what’s possibly going to happen from early on. The writing gives you that clue. But it has you thinking “please no, please no” the whole way through.

This is just superb.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


Gareth has had to move to France with his mum and dad. He doesn’t like it there. He can’t speak the lingo and the other kids make fun of him. He makes friends with another boy in his apartment building, Bergen.

Bergen may not be his friend after all though.

Now this one was good and bad. I loved the idea behind the story. It had a sort of a Twilight Zone feel to it. It also had a dark, almost sepia toned effect to it. That part I really liked.

The writing style, to me, left me scratching my head though. Sometimes it felt a bit disjointed. Very hard to describe but short sentences at times made it feel sharp rather than punchy.

Didn’t flow very well for me but I liked the idea.

★★★ for general.

★★★ for horror.


Cynthia and Martha are mother and daughter. They are on a bus. Gloria is another passenger on the bus and strikes up a conversation with the pair, but something just doesn’t feel right.

Ever read a story that has something hidden, something just bubbling under the surface but doesn’t quite make it to the top? That’s what this story felt like to me. It was like it was building and building to something but never quite got there.

Like watching a game of football (soccer for you American types) and the team has a perfect build up from their own goal line, twenty-four clean passes, and then hits the post.

Something was missing. I’m just not sure what it was.

★★.5 for general.

★★.5 for horror.


Paige and Henry are visiting their country faire. They go into the apothecary and are served some sample tea by a young boy called Sam. They both agree it's delicious but neither of them expect the effects it will have on them.

This is one that takes you into a different world. Almost another realm, where evil exists forever and you cannot escape it.

This had a lovely feeling to it. Very dark and detached. Had an almost Silent Hill feeling to it.

Beautifully written to be both entrancing and haunting at the same time. One of those stories that plants a seed and lets your mind go wild.

★★★★ for general.

★★★ for horror.


Tim has taken his daughter Sarah to hospital feeling very unwell. After being checked out, it's nothing serious. Just a high temperature. Or is it?

This is another that I so wanted to like more but there was just something missing. It missed a bit of explanation as to what was actually going on so you're left feeling a little bit in the dark with it.

Good plot idea though. Maybe expanded a little it might have hit the mark.

★★★ for general.

★★ for horror.


Nicole and Georgia are twin sisters. They do everything together. Good things and bad things. They want to play the Visiting The Darkness game. No one else does though.

This was good. This is what punchy should read like. To the point and brutal.

The girls in this are genuinely scary. They have a sort of feel to them that Damien had in The Omen. Quiet and unassuming but bloody evil and doubly brutal.

One part of this made my jaw hit the ground then close my mouth very quickly again putting both hands over it!

A big improvement Mr Lennon!

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


A man lives in a house with a huge tree in his garden. He never noticed the spiral ladder on the side of it until his son did.

His son climbed the ladder. He came back, but he's been gone 3 days this time. He will be back though. Won't he?

This is what I'm talking about people. Dark, mysterious, intriguing, hauntingly beautifully written horror that is so atmospheric, you realise when you finish it, you've not even noticed someone has been in and cleared your house out apart from the seat you sit on!

Wonderful. Is there a six-star button?

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


Claire and Joanie are friends working together in their garden. Bobby is a young lad who lives across the street. He is forever torturing them and generally bullying them. When Claire loses her temper with him he turns even nastier.

How far will his bullying go?

This was really good. It was cantering along very nicely and was building the tension perfectly, leading up to the big ending.

Then it just seemed to fall flat on its face. It had huge potential for a massive reveal at the end. It just didn’t come for me.

Very disappointing in the end.

★★.5 for general.

★★.5 for horror.


Dillon can’t wait to get back to school after the summer break. That is until he remembers his nemesis, Ron. First day back and Ron immediately makes Dillon’s life a living hell.

Sometime later Dillon is made milk monitor for the day. The day he has been waiting for. The day that he is the one making the decisions.

Loved it. Slow. Methodical. Tense. All this in a build up to an ending that you could never see coming. You know Dillon is the underdog. You know he wants revenge. How he gets it is both satisfying and brutally alarming.

Brilliant ending twist.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


Anna’s mum is very worried about her. She is being bullied at school and people know who’s doing it, but no one can do anything about it. Should she really take matters into her own hands?

A story driven by the purest thing on the planet. A mother’s love for her child. It can make them crazy and it can make them do things they would never normally do. Matt Hickman gets this point across very well in this story with a wicked twist at the end.

It’s told almost like it’s a police statement. A bit stop, start at times but it actually works.

★★★★ for general.

★★★★ for horror.


Connie and Ben are retired. They love to take things easy and Connie loves her garden. Jessica is the little girl who lives next door with her mum. She has started to dig in her garden. Connie is concerned that her mum doesn’t seem to be about. Jessica says she is ill.

Things will be OK though. She has a plan.

This is one of those stories where you know what is going to happen. It is pretty easy to figure out. It doesn’t affect the enjoyment though. The build-up of tension in this is perfect. An unassuming little girl just having fun digging.

Totally innocent. Or is it?

Really good story. Not the first time I have read Alice J. Black and not the first time I have been mightily impressed.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★ for horror.


The Dokhio are coming. They need their sacrifice. No one knows why, or what the sacrifice will be. Some want to give it freely. Others will refuse claiming it is nothing but a myth. Who is right.

This was an interesting one. I’m sort on the fence a bit with it. I did like it. I enjoy stories of ancient tribes and myths and monsters.

This one again just seemed a bit rushed at times. If felt like it deserved a longer story and would have coped very nicely with more detail and more tension. I know that’s not the idea of a short story but hey ho.

★★★ for general.

★★★ for horror.


Oliver can be a very naughty boy. When he is, he is put in the box. It’s basically the shed but he is locked in there for periods of reflection.

Oliver has had enough of his dad. He doesn’t treat him or his mum very nice. The voices he hears in the box want to help.

This is more or less a story about a kid being driven over the edge by punishment. Is the punishment warranted? Maybe not but what’s the alternative?

Another one that left me wanting a little bit more. It had the potential to much scarier.

★★★ for general.

★★★ for horror.


Sam is fed up moving house. He has to because of his dad’s job but finds it hard to make friends.

Walter and Greg come calling and offer to take him to see their toads.

Maybe these are friends he could do without.

Sam just craves friends and fun. Can meeting up with new people make you like them even though you know they are wrong. This is an interesting take on peer pressure and what it can do to the weak.

Creepy tale full of mental torture and horror.

★★★★ for general.

★★★★ for horror.


Aidan has been befriended by Nathan. He’s a bit of a weird one and has a reputation for being quick tempered and nasty.

After a trip into the forest with him, Aidan discovers Nathan has been keeping a lot more secrets. Deadly ones.

This is great. Its every timid kid’s nightmare. The bully makes friends with you and no one can see the danger in that but you. This is a tale that gets more brutal and scary as it goes on culminating in an ending that I doubt you would see coming. These are kids after all.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


Joseph’s son has gone missing. He thinks he has joined a gang in Baltimore. After seeing riots on television and what looked like his son in the middle of it, his search intensifies.

Not sure what this one was actually trying to achieve.  Fathers frantic search for his son with a bit of a psychedelic dream sequence in the middle that I don’t think I totally understood.

★★★ for general.

★★ for horror.


Told from the position of a husband excited at his wife’s announcement of being pregnant, this is another bit of a weird one that I don’t think I totally understood.

No idea where it was supposed to go or what it was trying to achieve.

Bit lost with this one.

★★.5 for general.

★★.5 for horror.

I love kids, but I could never eat a whole one – Oscar Wilde.

After reading this anthology, you may be put off for life. This is full of stories of, not the cute gurgly type of kids but the kids of nightmares.

You would think that giving the criteria for stories in this collection, namely kids, that the stories may be predictable and all of the same vein. You could not be more wrong. The variety between the covers of this one is immense. No two stories deal with the same subject. No two stories are even remotely similar.

That is, for me, a huge pat on the back for the people who put it together. Stuart Keane and Jack Rollins deserve a lot of credit for taking a single subject and making if so varied.

Of course it wouldn’t be this way without the wonderful authors contributing their wonderful stories and trusting them into the hands of the DCP.

In terms of an overall book this one leaves me with a bit of mixed opinion.

There are some fantastic stories in this one. Bad Little Boys Go To Hell, The Bones of Baby Dolls and The Ladder are examples of short story writing at their very best. The Ladder is up there among my list of favourite ever short stories. It is just superb.

But there were a few that disappointed me as well. Now I always say that the world of reading is the greatest world around because what I will love, you may hate and vice versa. For that reason alone, you must buy this anthology. The mixture of stories will keep you glued to the end and you will read some stories that make you want to strive to find everything the author has ever done because they are that good. You gotta take the rough with smooth. That’s why this is one you have to pick up.

General rating:

★★★★ nearly there.

Horror rating:

★★★★ hard to full marks with an anthology.

To buy Kids or any other books from Dark Chapter Press simply click on the below link. This will take you to your local Amazon, no matter where in the world you live.


Book Synopsis:


They laugh, they scream, they play.

They're innocent and harmless, cute and cuddly, the apple of their parents' eye. 


None of the above applies. Kids can be the joy of a couple's life, but in the world of horror, they are anything but. These kids can kill, and maim; they laugh while you scream and play in the hot blood spilled from your mutilated, shuddering body. They may look cute and cuddly but, on the inside, they're pure and absolute evil.

Kids is an anthology about the devils spawn; children who break all social protocol and scare the living hell out of you. Newborn, toddler, infant, teenager? Kids has them all. Whether they're evil personified or bravely facing evil head on, these children will live long in the memory.

From Dark Chapter Press comes Kids, the first of an exclusive two-part anthology. Featuring eighteen terrifying stories of child-based terror from a whole host of horror talent, the words on these pages will leave you shaking with fear. Featuring a foreword from Ryan C. Thomas, this book isn't suitable for bedtime stories, but it will appeal to the horror readers who like their lore gory, violent, suspenseful, and darkly humorous.

Remember, they're only children. What harm can they do?

Contributor Biographies


James Walley

Arriving in the rainy isle of Great Britain in the late ‘70s, James Walley quickly became an enthusiast of all things askew. Having grown up in a quaint little one horse town that was one horse short, on a steady diet of movies, ‘50s sci fi and fantasy fiction, creating creepy nonsense seemed like the only logical step to make.

Sure, he can sometimes be found behind the desk of a nine to five job, but has kept himself sane by singing in a rock band, memorizing every John Carpenter movie ever made, and learning the ancient art of voodoo.

His debut novel, The Forty First Wink, was published in 2014, and with a clutch of short stories also in the offing, the sequel is prepping for launch.”

Twitter: @JamesWalley74
Author Page:!the-forty-first-wink/c1c1q

Feind Gottes

Feind Gottes is a horror writer with his first published work, Hell Awaits, appearing in Kill For A Copy from Dark Chapter Press. His zombie flash fiction tale, Tamed Brute, can be found in Flashes of Darkness: Halloween Special 2015 and his tale, Known But Not Named, recently won Dark Chapter Press’ DreAdvent Calendar contest. Feind recently finished his first novel and will have another short story published in the anthology, KIDS, to be edited by Stuart Keene for Dark Chapter Press due out in March 2016.

Feind is also the editor for, his website dedicated to all things horror & heavy metal. Feind is also a contributing writer for Occult Rock and formerly for Doommantia. Feind currently resides in Tucson, AZ working non-stop to promote and support independent music, movies and writers like himself.


Josh Pritchett

Josh Pritchett was born in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1970, the home of the University of Virginia where Edgar Allan Poe first went to college. When he was twelve, he read Stephen King’s “Night Shift” and found his life’s calling. Sadly feeding people to rats is not a growth industry, so he became a writer instead. He has previously been published in the anthologies Brave New Girls, Bones III, and Bizarre Tales from Three Notch’d Road.

You can follow Josh on Facebook at Josh Pritchett Jr.

Sharon L. Higa

Sharon L. Higa is an East Tennessean who lives smack in the middle of ‘hauntsville’ – much to her delight. She revels in penning tales of Horror, supernatural thrillers, fantasy/action and pretty much anything else that is creepy, crawly and downright spine chilling.  She has three novels, one novella and several short stories printed in a wide variety of anthologies.

To check out her offerings to the world at large, you can go to her website:

Check out her facebook page under Sharon L Higa or catch up with her on twitter. She posts as: elf126

Sharon also has a wordpressblog under blueunicorn1, where she spreads the word about her up and coming projects as well as those of her fellow authors.

Douglas F. Dluzen

During the day Douglas is a geneticist and studies the genetic mechanisms of aging and age-related diseases.

At night he continues to write his science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories. He is currently editing his first novel and working on a science fiction trilogy.

He is also deeply interested in the meeting of everyday science and the supernatural and that’s where he draws much of his horror-writing inspiration. Douglas enjoys traveling, hiking, and air drumming.

Twitter: @ripplesintime24

Erica Chin

Erica Chin was born and raised in Malaysia, a country with a diversity of ethnics, cultures and cuisines. She enjoys learning about and writing in Mandarin and English. She revels in plotting stories that unnerve people. She currently lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Find Erica Chin on Facebook at

Andrew Lennon

Andrew Lennon is the author of A Life to Waste, Keith and Twisted Shorts.

He has featured in numerous anthologies and is successfully becoming a recognised name in horror and thriller writing. Andrew is a happily married man living in the North West of England with his wife Hazel & their children.

He enjoys spending his time with his family and watching or reading new horror.


Pete Clark

Pete Clark has had a number of stories published on webzines, and in the anthologies ‘Detritus’ (Omnium Gatherum), ‘Short Sips’ and ‘Here There Be Dragons’ (Wicked East Press), ‘Fresh Blood’ (MayDecember Publications), ‘Thirteen Volume 3’ (13 Horror), ‘Time of Death’ (Living Dead Press) and ‘Darkness ad Infinitum (Villipede).  He was awarded an Honourable Mention in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest (2nd Quarter 2011). He includes Stephen King, Clive Barker and China Miéville among his many influences.  Writing numerous short stories and his first novel, he lives in North West England with his wife, two children and a growing collection of guitars.

Mark Parker

Mark Parker is the founder, publisher, and managing editor of Scarlet Galleon Publications. His editorial credits include Dead Harvest: A Collection of Dark Tales (2014); Dark Hallows: 10 Halloween Haunts (2015); and the much anticipated Fearful Fathoms: Collected Tales of Aquatic Terror (2016). Parker is the author of The Scarlet Galleon, Biology of Blood, Way of the Witch, Banshee’s Cry, Lucky You, The Troll Diner, Killing Christmas, and Born Bad to be featured in the forthcoming anthology KIDS: Vol. I coming soon from Dark Chapter Press. Bestselling author of the Witching Savannah series writes of Parker’s Way of the Witch: “Parker has a strong voice and is able to convey a sustained sense of time and place. Similar in feel to Richard Laymon’s Traveling Vampire Show.”

You can learn more about the author/publisher by visiting his website

Michael Bray

Michael Bray is a horror / thriller author of more than ten novels. Influenced from an early age by the suspense horror of authors such as Stephen King, Richard Laymon & Brian Lumley, along with TV shows like Tales From The Crypt & The Twilight Zone, he started to work on his own fiction, and spent many years developing his style.

With books sold in over forty countries and rights optioned for movie and television adaptations of his work, he recently signed with Media Bitch literary agency where he intends to take the next step in his writing career. He currently resides in Leeds, England, with his wife Vikki and daughter Abi.

Where to find Michael Bray online

Official website:
Google +:

Matt Hickman

Matt is an avid fan of horror fiction. He spends a majority of his free time reading books from both established and independent authors. With a diverse knowledge of the genre, he has now tried his hand at writing horror. With the support of his peers, some of which are established writers themselves, he now approaches a new career, one that will see him take horror by storm.

His debut, a collaboration with Andrew Lennon; Hexad is available on digital download from Amazon, to be followed by inclusion into an anthology from Dark Chapter Press – Kids.

Alice J. Black

Alice lives and works in the North East of England where she lives with her partner and slightly ferocious cats! She writes all manner of fiction with a tendency to lean towards the dark side.  Dreams and sleep-talking are currently a big source of inspiration and her debut novel, The Doors, is a young adult novel which originally came from a dream several years ago and grew from there.

Chantal Noordeloos

Chantal Noordeloos (born in the Hague, and not found in a cabbage as some people may suggest) lives in the Netherlands, where she spends her time with her wacky, supportive husband, and outrageously cunning daughter, who is growing up to be a supervillain. When she is not busy exploring interesting new realities, or arguing with characters (aka writing), she likes to dabble in drawing.

In 1999 she graduated from the Norwich School of Art and Design, where she focused mostly on creative writing.

There are many genres that Chantal likes to explore in her writing. Currently Sci-fi Steampunk is one of her favourites, but her ‘go to’ genre will always be horror. “It helps being scared of everything; that gives me plenty of inspiration,” she says.

Chantal likes to write for all ages, and storytelling is the element of writing that she enjoys most. “Writing should be an escape from everyday life, and I like to provide people with new places to escape to, and new people to meet.”

Chantal started her career writing short stories for various anthologies, and in 2012 she won an award for ‘Best Original Story’ for her short ‘the Deal’. Coyote is her first big project.

Gary Pearson

Gary Pearson is an indie author that has published two Novella’s within the thriller genre, and is currently working on further pieces and submissions for anthologies.

He became interested in writing at a young age when watching his local football team, he was inspired by the sports writers of the day and began writing his own articles detailing the events of the games for his local newspaper.  Gary has also started a novel, which began when he partook in NaNoWriMo 2014, a writing challenge which requires contestants to write 50,000 words in the 30 days of November.  He completed this challenge and emerged as a winner, this spurred him on to complete the Novel which will be a significant milestone once published.

Find out more about Gary by going to one of the following:


S.L. Dixon

Former homeless hitchhiker and high school dropout, S.L. Dixon grew up in Ontario, Canada and his short stories have appeared in magazines, digests, literary journals and anthologies from around the world. Currently, he’s married, has a cat and resides in a small coastal community in British Columbia, Canada. 


David Basnett

Hailing from north of Hadrian’s Wall, the true life inspiration for Game of Thrones’ The Wall, that was built to keep the Roman empire intact, David was raised amid the foothills of the Cheviots and in the shadow of the sprawling and inspiring Northumberland National Park. His fast paced yet still descriptive style of writing and knack of breathing life into tired genres has established him as a horror and young adult author to watch out for.

David is a regular contributor to Dark Chapter Press having won one of their flash fiction competitions and is part of the Kill for a Copy anthology.

A regular on social media to talk with fans of his books, you can keep in touch with David on:

Brian Barr

Brian Barr is an American author of novels, short stories, and comic books. Brian has been published in various short story anthologies and magazines, including Queer Sci Fi’s Discovery, NonBinary Review, Nebula Rift, New Realm, Mantid, Dark Chapter Press’s Kill for a Copy, and many J. Ellington Ashton Press publications. Brian collaborates with another writer, Chuck Amadori, on the supernatural dark fantasy noir comic book series Empress, along with Pencil Blue Studios’ Marcelo Salaza for the art. His first novel, Carolina Daemonic: Confederate Shadows, was published by J. Ellington Ashton Press in 2015. Carolina Daemonic will be a four-volume novel series, along with various short stories which have already been published and will be eventually be gathered in collections.

Facebook Group:
Dark Chapter Press Author Page:
Twitter: @brianbarrbooks

Christopher Ropes

Christopher Ropes is a horror and occult author and poet living in New Jersey. He lives with his two kids and his fiancee and their menagerie of pets. He’s been published in the first two J. Ellington Ashton Press “Rejected for Content” anthologies, and has stories soon to be published in Xnoybis #3 and Despumation Journal #2. He also has a book of transgressive poetry, “The Operating Theater,” available from Dynatox Ministries. Various occult journals have published his work as well. You can connect with him at:

Stuart Keane

Stuart Keane is a horror/suspense author of several novels. Currently in his second year of writing, Stuart is developing a reputation for writing realistic, contemporary horror. With comparisons to Richard Laymon and Shaun Hutson amongst his critical acclaim – he cites both authors as his major inspiration in the genre – Stuart is dedicated to writing terrifying, thrilling stories for real horror fans.

He is currently a member of the Author’s Guild, and an editor for emerging UK publisher, Dark Chapter Press. With books sold all over the world, and his first novel, All or Nothing, currently in development to be turned into a TV serial, 2016 will be a busy year for Stuart. He has several novels in the works, including Oedema, Outbreak, and the continuation of his Charlotte Chronicles trilogy, Awakening and Amy.

Stuart was born in Kent, and lived there for three decades. A major inspiration for his work, his home county has helped him produce numerous novels and short stories. He currently resides in Essex, is happily married, and is totally addicted to caffeine.

Feel free to get in touch at or

He can also be found on Twitter at @SKeane_Author.
Twitter - @SKeane_Author.

Jack Rollins

Jack Rollins was born and raised among the twisting cobbled streets and lanes, ruined forts and rolling moors of a medieval market town in Northumberland, England. He claims to have been adopted by Leeds in West Yorkshire, and he spends as much time as possible immersed in the shadowy heart of that city.

Writing has always been Jack’s addiction, whether warping the briefing for his English class homework, or making his own comic books as a child, he always had some dark tale to tell.

Fascinated by all things Victorian, Jack often writes within that era, but also creates contemporary nightmarish visions in horror and dark urban fantasy.

He currently lives in Northumberland, with his partner, two sons, and his daughter living a walking distance from his home, which is slowly but surely being overtaken by books...

Jack’s published works are as follows:

The Séance: A Gothic Tale of Horror and Misfortune
The Cabinet of Dr Blessing
Dead Shore, in Undead Legacy
Anti-Terror, in Carnage: Extreme Horror
Home, Sweet Home in Kill For A Copy
Ghosts of Christmas Past in The Dichotomy of Christmas

Jack can be found online at:

Twitter: @jackrollins9280

Founded on 1 August 2014, Dark Chapter Press is a horror Publisher with a mission to foster new talent and high quality speculative fiction.

Dark Chapter Press aims to find and develop new talent in speculative fiction and to guide new authors from manuscript to published work.

And for more about Dark Chapter Press, visit their site or find them on social media:

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